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Category Archives: Divorce

Wait! I’ve Got a Coupon!

Quick tip for those of you grappling with finances and looking for ways to stretch every dollar as you figure out how to afford life as a divorced dad. I’ve written before about the need to write out a monthly budget and the power of just knowing what it’s costing you to live.copon One thing I’ve learned is there are little secrets here and there that can save you a buck or two which can really add up month to month. It may be buying sporting gear for little league, buying shoes or even something as innate as buying eyeglasses on-line. Well recently, I became aware of an amazing tool for shoppers; on-line coupons and coupon apps.

Example: One day my kids and I walked into Michael’s (an arts/crafts chain). We spent around twenty minutes looking around and after each kid picked out their project of choice, we headed for the check out. My eldest tapped me on the shoulder and handed me her phone. “What?” I asked her. She just said, “Here.” Again, trying to focus on the transaction I asked, “What, can’t it wait?” She pointed out that on her phone was a coupon. Being in the midst of herding cats I was a little indifferent and responded with a quick, “whatever” and moved on. So she handed her phone to the cashier who proceeded to scan her phone. “DING.” The total for child number one’s project suddenly went down by 50%. Sure enough. There on her phone was a coupon for 50% off one item at check out. Amazing.

After proclaiming her my new favorite I asked her  what other coupons she had on her phone. I quickly learned from my daughter, as well as searching on-line, that a lot of stores have apps that allow you to collect instant savings at checkout. Who knew? Target for example has their Cartwheel. This one’s great for those of you with tween or teen daughters who continually find that “one” sweater they don’t have. 30% off adds up over time and all it takes is a quick look before you check out to see if an item has a coupon.

“What about you? Do you have a favorite app generated means of saving money at checkout? Here’s the place to share it!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2015 in budgets, coupons, Divorce, Shopping

 

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Divorced Dad OS 48.1.15

Lately I’ve been feeling more and more like the harddrive on my iMac.

There was a time when it was the coolest, trendiest model. It had all the latest gadgets and way more capacity than any computer before it. Older models had a hard time keeping up with its lightning fast processing capabilities and it could withstand hours and hours of non-stop processing without crashing.

Now, a few years and several thousand projects later, it’s running slower. Takes forever to get going. It runs out of memory way too often and requires constant rebooting, even after the simplest of tasks. It has trouble running multiple applications at the same time,aboutthisdivorceddad
especially some of the newer ones that require more memory. Updating its system helped but also created incompatibilities with some of the older installed programs causing it to freeze up from time to time.

The worst part is that its once spacious drive is now constantly near capacity. There are files I know I should just get rid of, as they’re just clutter that tends to slow down the entire system. But sometimes it’s hard to just ‘delete’ them because some hold special memories and you never know when you may need to access them again. So I’m constantly moving files around in a never ending attempt to clean up the damn thing.

Then just about the time I have it looking more organized and running smoothly, the kids get on it and start downloading things, leaving things on the desktop and the next thing you know it’s all cluttered again and nothing is where I put it and I can’t function … I mean “IT” can’t function properly and needs another reboot.

Maybe it’s time to seriously go in, back up some essential files and images I don’t wanna lose, erase the whole thing and start over. I could add some new memory and install new system software. As hard as it would be, getting rid of a lot of the old files I never access any more would give me room to add some newer, more current, apps, maybe upload some new images and start building new projects. Would probably help it run faster and smoother without all the fragmentation.

Would mean shutting the system down for maintenance which may be inconvenient to some, but it’ll probably be better for everyone in the long run. So if you’ll excuse me I think I’m going to do a “save” and shut it down for a bit.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Divorce, stress

 

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It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose – (blah blah blah)

Heading into the 4th quarter, my son’s basketball team was up by six. It was a low scoring affair as most games featuring 8-9 year olds are. It all fell apart for them and they ended up losing by six. My son was completely dejected. He hadn’t had his best game and when it was over he came to the sideline to meet up with us and started to tear up a bit. He was heartbroken.

When the dust settled we all got together for lunch (his mom, sisters, him and I). While we were waiting on our food I leaned across the table and told him I was proud of him. He looked at me with this shocked look on his face and peered at me inquisitively. I continued; Basketballshot“You never quit. You never pointed a finger at another player. You didn’t beat yourself up when you made a mistake. You respected your coach. You gave it your all. You fought to the very end. Overall you played with maturity and I could never ask more of you.” I know, I know, it was a little cliche’. But I meant every word.

I have to admit I was kind of taken aback when he looked at me with a bit of a sigh of relief. I half expected him to brush it off and remind me of all the negatives. Or tell me, “You have to say that because you’re my dad.” But he didn’t. As I leaned back to make room for our waiter to place our plates down, my son just sat there, kind of perked up a bit and smiled.

It’s so easy to tell a kid how they need to act mature and roll with the punches isn’t it? Easy to judge their actions and approach to life and offer our worldly advice. But what about us? What about the parent? Who’s coaching us? After lunch the kids went with their mom. When I got home I thought about my week. Thought about how many times I missed the shot or turned the ball over. There were more than a few this week. And then I looked in the mirror and smiled. I felt very much like my son as I visualized him walking across the court beating himself up over the game. Replaying over and over every error and kicking myself. But one of the things I love about having kids is how often I learn more about myself simply by watching my children grow. The words I say to the kids reverberate in my head and quite often I find that the very speech I gave my kid is one I needed to hear myself.

The truth is we’re all kids at heart. We may age on the outside. But inside we’re still nine on so many levels. We take on the world with more experience every day, but still battle the same insecurities we did when we were in elementary school. Despite a few more decades under our belts, we’re still pretty good at beating ourselves up when we make mistakes. Just like our kids, sometimes we need to be reminded that how we handle our mistakes is more important than if we win the game.

I truly was proud of my son this afternoon. He became a little more of a young man today. He may have missed a shot or two, but his attitude, well that was a slam dunk. I can only hope I can say the same for myself this week.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in Divorce, Talking To Kids

 

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Find The Good

During any school break, let alone anything over ten days, you get to know your kids on a WHOLE new level. During this recent time together I had noticed that my kids had fallen into the trap of finding everything wrong with each other along with everything around them. Just a constant bemoaning about every little detail. This then became combined with chronic bickering back and forth about every minute detail about every moment of their day. Eventually each became focused on what they disliked about the others. This then started to seep into their daily lives and I started to hear negativity regarding all kinds of things ranging from clothes to friends to the weather. “It’s blue!” “NO it’s GREEN!” “You’re dumb!” “You’re stupid!”

When you go through a divorce, it’s very easy to focus on the negative. It takes a lot of energy to retrain your brain to focus on thefindthegoodladdpositives and to recognize that the world isn’t in fact out to get you despite all evidence to the contrary. Once you do, negativity begins to take on the same attributes of fingernails on a chalk board and you begin to take steps to avoid it at all costs. So when I became surrounded by this never ending centrifuge of hostility toward the cosmos, I did what any calm, rational, reasonable father would do; I yelled and sent everyone to their rooms.

As I sat in the kitchen contemplating a month long grounding with all three kids subject to nothing but bread and water twice a day and no contact with the outside world until they came to their senses, I noticed the big black chalk wall we’d created this past summer. We had just cleared all of the Christmas messages and imagery that had been created over the past couple of months and it was staring at me like a giant blank canvas. I walked over toward it and picked up a piece of chalk and began to write:

“FIND THE GOOD!”

A simple and direct objective. Find the good. It exists in every person, place, situation, event, environment and circumstance. Sometimes we need to look a little harder to see it, but it’s always there to build on. And it’s up to us to train our brain to seek it out. I am by no means a master at this, but I saw this as an opportunity to offer the kids one simple task and see if I couldn’t get them to recognize that it’s their choice to focus on the positive. Throughout the day, simply find the good. Hone in on it. And then build on it.

We’ll see how it works. But it’s there in big bold letters for all (including myself) to see throughout the day. “FIND THE GOOD.” A gentle reminder that positive is so much more productive and fun than negative. I’ll likely start putting up a new task every week or every month. But for now all I want is for the kids to help each other find the good in their day, in their family, and in their world. Because despite what the world tells us sometimes, there’s a lot of it to be found if we’ll simply look a little harder.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2015 in Divorce, kids, negative

 

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Ho Ho WHOA!!!

While the title of this blog is “Life as a Divorced Dad,” a good majority of the posts I write can easily be read by parents from just about any situation with a sense of, “yup … been there.” However this particular post will most likely resonate more with divorced parents than any other.

Like most parents, we invest months of preparation, planning, spending, anticipation, anxiety, stress, sleepless nights pushing ourselves to emotional extremes culminating in few days of hurried chaos as we attempt to accomplish splendid memorable moments of holiday cheer of epic proportions for our children. (deep breath)

We then groggily wake up on the 26th with a sense of, “Whoa what just happened?” For most, the sudden contrast of calm can be a little unsettling. The pace of our lives has been ludicrous speed and it’s now come to a screeching halt. For the typical family unit there is still a sense of wholeness that accompanies these feelings as the kids play with their new toys, a pot of coffee is brewing in the kitchen and parents 2014-12-02 22.17.53attempt to begin the process of cleaning up.

But for the divorced parent, there is often a much larger sense of contrast. For a divorced parent the experience can be remarkably cold and empty, especially if they spend Christmas morning with their kids and then hand them off to the other parent the day after. We wake to a Christmas ghost town of deadly quiet as we look around the house at shreds of ribbon strewn about along with a few empty boxes and left over Santa cookies. It can very much feel like slamming into a brick wall.

Throughout the year the transition from having kids to not having kids is most likely the most difficult adjustment for everyone involved, but the holidays take it to a whole nother level. It is an experience of extremes and the emptiness of handing your children off during the holidays can be unfathomably cold for no other reason than it’s an extreme shock to the system both physically and emotionally.

As hard as it may be at first, take advantage of the quiet. Rest. Reflect. And look forward to the next time you’ll get to see your children. Send them a text and let them know you’re thinking about them. Send a picture of you enjoying a gift they got you. Let them know that even when you’re apart, they’re still with you. Some children will feel guilt for leaving a parent alone. Letting them know you’re OK will allow them to enjoy their time with the other parent, so long as you stay positive.

Remember that everything you did during the holiday rush was to ensure your children had a joyous holiday. That’s still the focus. Part of that includes time with their other parent. Know that everything you’re doing, including sitting alone on the stoop, sipping on a cup of java, you’re doing to give your children memories and relationships they’ll cherish as they get older.

You did good. And you deserve a moment of peaceful reflection. Enjoy it while you can because in a few days, you’ll start the chaos of a new year all over again.

Peace!

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Divorce, holidays, Uncategorized

 

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